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via @DreamAct: 428 Detained Immigrants Demand Review of Broward Detention Center

November 2, 2012

via Dream Activist

 428 immigrants held at Broward Detention Center  sent the following letter to ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton on October 15, 2012 demanding a review of those held at the Broward Detention Center in South Florida. For more information about the Dream Activist and National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s efforts at Broward click here.

Dear Mr. Morton:

The signers below, all detainees at BTC (Broward Transitional Center) a private I.C.E. facility owned and administered by the GEO Group Inc. and located in Pompano Beach, Florida would like to ask you to initiate an investigation on the policies and procedures being followed by ICE, Border Patrol, local police and other enforcement agencies involved in the detention, prosecution and removal of immigrants in South Florida and also on The GEO Group Inc – in particular this facility, based on you policy number 10075.1 FEA number 306-112-0026 about exercising prosecutorial discretion during Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Aliens (Better known as “The Morton Memo” dated June 17, 2011, according to the following:

There are many reasons proving that the memo in question has been put on the “back burner” and all the instructions in it are being taken just as a joke for those enforcement agencies. Sometimes indeed the answer we get from the deportation officers when we mention the memo in question is “Mr. Obama and Mr. Morton are in Washington, we are here and we decide what to do.”

There is also no doubt in our minds that this is a huge business generating millions of dollars for the GEO Group from taxpayer’s money; it is in their best interest to keep us detainees as long as they can in jail and to fill the facility up with people that don’t deserve to be detained and even people are brought here from far away states (this week alone there were about 60 people brought in from Arizona.) Most of the detainees eligible for release under the mention policy are being kept here month after month after month and many should have not been detained in the first place, which life, families and business are being destroyed.

The majority of the detainees at BTC have no criminal record, have been living and working the country for a very long time (some even for more than 15 years), have US. Citizen spouses and children, have been here since childhood, and a large number of us are legal Alien Residents. There are many cases of successful investors and entrepreneurs with companies creating many jobs that are being put at risk, cases of spouses serving in the US military forces, people graduated from US high schools and colleges, cases of victims of human trafficking cooperating with the enforcement agencies to dismantle those organizations, there are people eligible to apply to T.P.S. and so on.

There are many cases of people with legal visas approved by the embassies in their countries who just came on business or tourism and to visit their relatives taken here directly from the MIA airport and kept in there for months for no reason at all. Why they just don’t cancel their visas at the port of entry and send them back to their countries? Why they are brought here? We don’t know. There are many detainees asking for expedited removal or voluntary departure but that gets granted only after a long and painful process for them and their families.

Why the mentioned enforcement agencies are expending millions of dollars catching people like us when the real criminals are out there walking free? We do not know the answer but it is perhaps because small fish are an easier target and better for statistic purposes.

There are also many reasons to believe that the local enforcement agencies are applying “racial profiling” when detaining immigrants: A large number of them were caught up in alleged minor traffic violations, some even were just walking or just riding a bicycle. There used to be a time when this jail was full to capacity but the number of immigrants coming to the US has been declining for years, we question if a facility like this needs to be open. If Prosecutorial Discretion would have been applied under “Morton Memo” instructions, the number of detainees would probably be down to 10% to nothing.

We don’t expect an answer from you at this location; we know our mail in and out is being filtered but the National Immigrant Youth Alliance know some of our cases and we certainly hope you can help us with our situation.

Please see the list of signers in the following pages, there are about 500 signers, we couldn’t get all the people that wanted to sign this letter (including the female ones) because of the obvious reasons involving the difficulty of getting signatures in jail.

Thank you so much for your kind attention.

Best Regards.

 

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